AN OUTSPOKEN Christian campaigner has caused outrage on Twitter by saying Australian soldiers did not fight and die for gays and Muslims. “Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!”, Australian Christian Lobby managing director, Jim Wallace AM, tweeted.
The retired brigadier’s comment reflects the ACL’s aim to have Christian values implemented in Government and caused an immediate reaction on the social-networking site.
“@JimWallaceACL What they fought for was freedom from prejudice and persecution. For all Australians!” said one outraged Tweeter. Another tweeted: “Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby should be ashamed, using ANZAC day to push a homophobic and racist agenda.”
About an hour after he posted the Tweet, Mr Wallace apologised. “Ok you are right my apologies this was the wrong context to raise these issues. ANZACs mean to (sic) much to me to demean this day, not intended.” When contacted by the Herald Sun Mr Wallace said he was sorry to have posted the comments today. “I unreservedly apologise for sending that out,” Mr Wallace said.
He said he was moved to tweet about Australia and his beliefs after talking to his father, who served in World War II. “I’m sitting here with my 96-year-old father, a veteran of Tobruk,” he said. “He’s telling me he can’t recognise the Australia he fought for.”
Mr Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby have campaigned against gay marriage in the past. He said he expected people to take “advantage” of his comments on Twitter to “score a point”, but said he meant no offence on a day that means a lot to many Australians – including him. “I had no intention to offend anyone on Anzac Day,” he said.
Mr Wallace’s stance on gay marriage has remained unchanging since an interview with Tony Jones on ABC’s Lateline program in 2008. “We’re always presented with inflated figures from the homosexual lobby, which for year(sic) told us it was 10 per cent of the population. We now know it’s around two per cent,” he said then. “That now, we are not in a position and we shouldn’t be in a position of democracy where we over turn, compromise a fundamental institution in society for that small a percentage of the population.”
Mr Wallace was a career soldier for 32 years and a commander of Australia’s elite Special Forces. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services in developing Australia’s counter terrorist capability.